I may interest you all that in the contra dance tradition the tunes are
played AABB. Period, end of discussion. Tunes that are 16 bars long are not
used because they are confusing to the dancers since they are repeated once
during the course of the dance. Each tune is played 6 or more times before
going onto the next one. There are many, many new dances being written all
the time and the devisers make great effort to use 4 or 8 bar phrased figures
in such a way that there is no dancing across the phrase.
Seems to work.
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH
On Sat, 10 May 1997 SMiskoe@aol.com compelled me to de-lurk by writing:
> I may interest you all that in the contra dance tradition the tunes are > played AABB. Period, end of discussion.
Like Chorus Jig (ABCB')?
Galopede (3 parts)?
Portland Fancy (3 parts, isn't it?)
I swear we've played Maggie Brown's Favorite (AAlongB).
What about the music for Fred Parks' "Ministry of Truth" ('any good
blues', which would be 12 bars long, played AAAA forever).
And I bet if I shuffled through my old set lists I'd find more (but you're
right in that they would be a very small fraction of the total).
You MUST have known someone would do this to you if you said "Period, end
There are some tunes in the American fiddle tradition based on a 12-bar
structure rather than our familiar 8-bar phrases; I'm thinking of some of
the fiddle rags (an example of which would be Pig Ankle Rag -- even though
it sounds to me like an 8-bar tune with a 4-bar afterthought). Of course,
some of these have a syncopated, bouncy feel to them that wouldn't be
right for many dances.